My special condolences to the family of Chris Msando, the late ICT Manager at the IEBC. This murder has exposed the darkest side of our nation. It is a bastardly act that has only served to reveal the high stakes we have placed on elections, and the extent to which we are ready to go either to retain or capture political power. For a fact, Kenya is perhaps the most politicised nation in the world – with campaigns running from one election to the other. It is a pity that we have already started campaigns for 2022!
In such a highly politicised environment, conventional wisdom holds that political assassination is the last thing you want to have. They have been shown to have substantial political, social and economic effects on the nation. Indeed, studies indicate that in general, political assassinations seem to intensify prospects of a state’s fragmentation and undermine its democratic nature – a situation we can ill afford.
Arie Perliger found that, in order for electoral processes to become a viable tool for promoting a productive and peaceful political environment, the most intense political grievances must be addressed. Otherwise, electoral competition holds the potential to instigate violence, including the assassinations of political figures. It is therefore foolhardy that instead of working on resolving disputable matters within our electoral system, we have chosen the dangerous path by murdering a critical cog in the wheel of that process.
However, we can turn the tide by taking a godly perspective to elections. Such a perspective appreciates that leadership, at whatever level, is ultimately granted by God – not by the elector’s ballot or the assassin’s bullet. This is well illustrated in the only recorded electoral process in the Bible, when the Apostles wanted to replace Judas. A careful analysis reveals at least five key steps they followed. First, they set a criteria for identifying the potential candidates – the candidate must have walked with Jesus.
Two, they conducted a nomination – Justus and Matthias were nominated. Three, they prayed for God’s guidance in identifying the right candidate. Four, they voted – and Matthias got the highest vote. Fifth, they inaugurated or commissioned the successful candidate – Matthias was added to the team of Apostles. Sixth, they returned to their normal routines, and we hear nothing more about that election.
Several principles herein can help guide our conduct and participation in impending elections. First, there was unanimity in determining the process to follow. Secondly, there was a high level of trust, both in Peter’s leadership, and also in the process as designed. But, thirdly and most importantly, these men and women demonstrated a deep faith in God as the one who ultimately appoints leaders. Accordingly, both those who voted for Justus and those who voted for Matthias, unanimously accepted the results and in unity commissioned Matthias as their new Apostle.
Simple and straightforward
The lesson for us is that, if we believe in God – and many Kenyans do – elections should be a simple and straightforward exercise. We each should very objectively set criteria for identifying the candidates to vote for in each elective position.
Next, identify one or two candidates for each position who you believe meet the criteria. Then, pray for God’s guidance to help you choose the most suitable candidate.
On Election Day, go and vote for the persons of you have chosen. Once the results are out, celebrate the successful candidates – believing they have been chosen by God – whether they are the ones you voted for or not. In this way, King Solomon in his wisdom said: The lot is cast, but its every decision is from the Lord. He will ensure that those who killed Msando do not benefit from their gruesome act.
- The writer is the Presiding Bishop of Christ is the Answer Ministries (CITAM).